Chef Darin Hoagland | Oliver Royale



Chef Darin Hoagland’s grandparents and mother ran a hunting restaurant in California. “The kitchen, with them, was my comfort spot,” he recalls. After culinary school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he cooked at Café Maxx in Pompano and other high-end Florida restaurants. He moved to Knoxville and started as a line cook at Oliver Royale in 2017, becoming executive chef in 2021.

General Manager Jamie Brackett, behind the bar for much of the evening, provided a light and refreshing welcome concoction of vodka, lime, mint, and Italicus vermouth liqueur.

Sommelier/Server Kirstie Durham and her well-drilled team of Connor Bodnar and Austin Witick, with help from Brackett and Oliver Hotel GM Daenon Young, presented diners with a “Lamb lollipop” amuse-bouche of a perfectly cooked medallion of lamb at the end of a thin bone and topped with Mediterranean salsa, feta cheese, and a puree of almonds.   

Top Chefs | Oliver Royale Appetizer

“This is a meal with a French twist,” said Executive Chef Darin Hoagland, starting with an appetizer of Escargot en Brioche: red-wine-braised, basil-fed escargots, Pernod anise liqueur, confit garlic, Plugra butter, cream, and baby arugula on brioche tostini. This was paired with Château Graville-Lacoste Graves 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Bourdeaux, France. “The acidity of the wine balanced the richness of the butter and the cream,” noted guest Aaron Hall.

Top Chefs | Oliver Royale Entree

The entrée featured a Sous Vide Ostrich Tenderloin Fan Filet with potato risotto, parmesan, lemon, foraged Mitchell’s Farm mushrooms, heavy cream stock parsnip crisp, and a blackberry demi-glace. “The demi-glace takes three days to make,” said Chef Darin, “with a bone-reduction finished sauce that we add blackberries and blackberry vinegar to.” This was paired with Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz 2018 and 2021 from Australia.

Top Chefs | Oliver Royale Dessert

Dessert was a Honeyed Pear in Puff Pastry. “An old chef of mine named Oliver Saucey taught me this recipe,” said Chef Darin. It’s a Sauternes-poached pear wrapped in pastry goat cheese and puff pastry twists. “I thought of Mom making the cobbler,” said Chef Darin. “I twisted the pastry and wrapped it around the pear, then coated it with orange blossom honey.” 

This was perfectly paired with a Résidence Pineau de Charentes. “It’s from the Cognac region,” said Sommelier Durham. “It’s made from a wine of blended grapes that are blended with a one-year-aged cognac eau-de-vie. It’s sweeter than cognac with slightly less alcohol and not so sweet that it overpowers the pear.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.